Castillo San Cristobal
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Climbing the Ramparts of an Old Fortress
Climb the ramparts and stroll the grounds at San Cristobal Castle, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. Built to protect against land-based attacks on San Juan, it covered 27 acres when it was finished in 1783. Visitors who prefer a tour with commentary can book a guide, but I would recommend wandering around the fortress and stopping occasionally to read information posted throughout and take in dusty exhibits on the history of the fort and of San Juan. A small gift shop offers cookbooks, leather goods stamped with images of the fort, and coquis (Puerto Rico's famous tree frogs), as well as postcards, T-shirts, and bottles of water. If you also plan on visiting El Morro, save a buck and buy a ticket to both fortresses (valid for 7 days including the day of purchase). On a side note, wear sunscreen or cover up. I don't normally burn, but I came away from the few hours I spent at the fortress with the back of my hands quite red. Apparently, Puerto Rico is too close to the Equator to do without UVA protection.
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